Friday, April 18, 2014

First 50 Friday - The First 50 Pages Project

When I decided to (re)start book blogging, I asked myself what I wanted to accomplish. What I wanted was simple: to share my love of reading. But when I delved a little deeper, I realized that I wanted to talk about newer books that got me excited. And that's when I found myself in a quandary. You see, for years, I have been on a book buying diet because I already own so many books that I have not read, and my shelves are pretty full. I feel like I should read more of these older books before I buy new ones. But what if I am no longer interested in xyz book? My solution is to apply Nancy Pearl's "Rule of Fifty" to my bookshelves and submit a short write-up for my blog.

The First 50 Pages Project

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

Heidi W. Durrow
Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction - 2008

First lines: “You my lucky piece,” Grandma says. Grandma has walked me the half block from the hospital lobby to the bus stop. Her hand is wrapped around mine like a leash.

This book is the story of Rachel, an 11-year-old mixed-race girl who has just moved in with her grandmother and aunt in Portland after her mother and brother’s tragic deaths. The story is told in shifting perspectives, including Rachel; Laronne, her mother’s boss in Chicago; Jamie, a Chicago neighbor boy.  In the first 50 pages, Rachel arrives at her grandmother’s house and begins school. Meanwhile her neighbor and her mother’s former boss try to make sense of what happened.

I do not feel like a lot happens in the first 50 pages. We meet Rachel and her family members and we see a bit of what her life was like before and what happened, but for me it just wasn't quite enough to pull me all the way in. 

I give the beginning a 3.5. I think I will come back to it. I think the fact that it won the Bellwether Prize is actually a deterrent for me. I worry about being bludgeoned with its social conscience. I am still a little bruised from my last run-in with Barbara Kingsolver, and I don't know if Durrow has the writing chops to get away with it.

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